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“evenements climatiques” page xxxv

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Niveau: Supérieur, Doctorat, Bac+8
“evenements_climatiques” — 2010/4/22 — 14:42 — page xxxv — _35 SUMMARY Our planet faces increasingly devastating extreme events. On a global scale, twenty-five of the most expensive disasters for the insurance sector since 1970 all happened after 1987. More than half of those occurred since 2001. Twenty- three of the 25 disasters have been linked to climatic conditions. France has not been spared. The Lothar and Martin storms of December 1999 caused 88 deaths, cut off electricity to 3.5 million homes and cost over 9 billion Euros in damages (7 billion Euros to insurers). The heat wave of August 2003 led to an additional 15,000 deaths between August 1st and 20th. The recent hurricane Xynthia led to the death of 53 persons when sea walls collapsed. It was the latest in a string of tragedies hitting these flood prone areas. It forces us to examine this issue seriously: in the future, are we prepared to face a flood like the one of 1910 in Paris? These events lead to disastrous consequences that are aggravated by unwise urban development, overpopulation of coastline areas and human impact on natural environments. Such events constitute poverty traps for the world's poorest countries. Faced with such destructive effects, preparedness is crucial. Is France pre- pared to face such events? Does it contribute enough to international efforts aimed at reducing the risk of disasters? Does it have the necessary scientific data to make informed decisions? In the current context of climate change

  • dam- ages caused

  • over

  • african countries

  • face collectively multi-risk

  • extreme climatic

  • caused over

  • such

  • events


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“evenements_climatiques” — 2010/4/22 — 14:42 — page xxxv — #35
SUMMARY
Our planet faces increasingly devastating extreme events. On a global scale, twentyfive of the most expensive disasters for the insurance sector since 1970 all happened after 1987. More than half of those occurred since 2001. Twenty three of the 25 disasters have been linked to climatic conditions.
France has not been spared. The Lothar and Martin storms of December 1999 caused 88 deaths, cut off electricity to 3.5 million homes and cost over 9 billion Euros in damages (7 billion Euros to insurers). The heat wave of August 2003 led to an additional 15,000 deaths between August 1st and 20th. The recent hurricane Xynthia led to the death of 53 persons when sea walls collapsed. It was the latest in a string of tragedies hitting these flood prone areas. It forces us to examine this issue seriously: in the future, are we prepared to face a flood like the one of 1910 in Paris?
These events lead to disastrous consequences that are aggravated by unwise urban development, overpopulation of coastline areas and human impact on natural environments. Such events constitute poverty traps for the world’s poorest countries.
Faced with such destructive effects, preparedness is crucial. Is France pre pared to face such events? Does it contribute enough to international efforts aimed at reducing the risk of disasters? Does it have the necessary scientific data to make informed decisions? In the current context of climate change and high concentrations of populations in risk zones, we must be prepared for more dangerous, and even previously unknown, extreme climatic events.
Three key messages are highlighted in this report: 1) reaching absolute cer tainty about the risk of extreme climatic events is an illusion and it is not possible to wait to have perfect knowledge of their mechanisms before acting; 2) we cannot satisfy ourselves with sectoral approaches in the face of the interdepen dence of hazards associated with extreme climatic events; and 3) a significant and sustained effort to educate the public, especially the younger generations, is crucial to promoting a behavioral change.
These messages lead us to put forward the following seven recommendations:
1. the resilience of ecological and social systems must be increased to brace for extreme climatic events. In order to do so, biodiversity and the diversity of social systems must be strengthened through international partnerships;